Racheal Lee
Aug 29, 2013

What if Malaysia's founders had live-Tweeted the fight for independence?

KUALA LUMPUR - 1 Malaysia for Youth (1M4U) is carrying out a National Day campaign in which the voices of historical figures speak through the media of today to tell the story of how the country gained independence.

Developed by TBWA\Kuala Lumpur, the ‘Road to Merdeka’ campaign enables Malaysians to discover the sacrifices, the fears and the musings of founders including Tunku Abdul Rahman, according to the organisation.

Merdeka literally means independence, and the country's National Day is this Saturday, 31 August.

The campaign tells the story of how a group of men came together, united in their belief that the country was ready for self-governance and freedom. It retells the history in the language of today through Twitter accounts including @TunkuMerdeka, @RazakMerdeka @THTanMerdeka, @TanCLMerdeka, @HSLeeMerdeka, @DrIsmailMerdeka and @VTSamMerdeka.

Here's a sample Tweet from yesterday evening:

The idea came about after a discussion regarding the ubiquitous image of Tunku Abdul Rahman declaring ‘Merdeka’ at Stadium Merdeka. Sa’ad Hussein, chief creative office of TBWA\Kuala Lumpur, said that the Tweets not only recount events, but also serve to dramatise the inner voice of the people involved in the process of fighting for independence.

“[It allows] followers to know what went through their minds as things unfolded,” he said. “We wanted to show that The Tunku and the other founding fathers were just like you and me, and we tried our best to reveal little gems that people may not necessarily know––like how the Merdeka delegation stopped negotiations so that they could all go to Wembley to catch a football game.”

The first tweets were released on 5 August, and will continue until National Day. The four-week campaign focuses on events that happened from 1954 all the way up to the declaration of Merdeka. A Facebook page was also created to house all the tweets, images and video links in one easy-to-follow page.

The biggest challenge was to spread the word about the campaign, which currently relies heavily on word-of-mouth. Other promotional methods include 'guerrilla' wall tagging (see video above), as well as covering a part of the Klang River wall with a “Road to Merdeka” graffiti.

While it's unknown what the organisation's exact objectives were in terms of engagement, relatively few people have been following the campaign; as of this morning, the Twitter feed for @Tunkumerdeka had 121 followers, and the Facebook page for the campaign had 324 likes.

The contents of the Road to Merdeka campaign were researched and sourced from various books and websites, as well as Arkib Negara and Memorial Tunku Abdul Rahman.

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